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MIT Professor: Greater Chance of Accidental Nuclear War Now Than During the Cold War

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    Chill With Russia Brings Nuclear Insecurity

    Published November 20, 2015
    Rachel Oswald

    MOSCOW ? Nikolai Ponomarev-Stepnoi dedicated decades of his career to a U.S.-Russian effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.
    Today, the retired nuclear scientist is glumly watching it all fall apart.
    ?The communication has been cut off to not even at zero but negative,? says the octogenarian, who was the first Russian scientist allowed to visit Three Mile Island after the 1979 reactor meltdown.
    The former vice president of the independent Kurchatov Institute, one of the first Russian organizations to accept U.S. nuclear security assistance under the long-running Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, says nuclear security is too important to allow any spats to get in the way...
    Sleepwalking Toward Disaster
    Interviews with nearly a dozen other senior Russian and American scientists, diplomats and retired defense officials reveal growing concerns that hard-won gains in post-Cold War nuclear nonproliferation are slowly being eroded...

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  • MIT Professor: Greater Chance of Accidental Nuclear War Now Than During the Cold War
    MIT Professor: Greater Chance of Accidental Nuclear War Now Than During the Cold War Changing technical conditions and issues, unstable political environments and geopolitical tensions are producing a greater danger of accidental nuclear war between the US and Russia than during the Cold War, according to Theodore A. Postol, a professor of Science, Technology, and International Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Theodore Postol
    TV Wed, Apr 22, 2015 |
    By Theodore Postol January 25, 2015
    How a nuclear near-miss in ’95 would be a disaster today
    Twenty years ago, a string of coincidences nearly set off a US-Russia nuclear crisis, but calmer heads prevailed. The risk is much higher today

    On Jan. 25, 1995 — 20 years ago today — the launch of a lone scientific rocket from a small island off the northwest coast of Norway set off Russia’s nuclear attack early warning system.
    As the rocket took off, it initially passed above the horizon of the curved earth into the field of view of Russian radar. After the motor shut down, the rocket then coasted to higher altitudes — into the middle of the major attack corridor between the US intercontinental ballistic missile fields at Grand Forks, N.D., and Moscow. Unknown to the scientists who launched it, one of the rocket’s stages finished its powered flight at an altitude and speed comparable to that expected from a Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile. This combination of events exactly fit the template of an attack scenario under which nuclear weapons are intentionally exploded at high altitudes so as to blind early warning radars before a major bombardment of Russian nuclear forces....